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Mining in Visayas and Bohol Island Province

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Central Visayas (MGB 7) has reported that large-scale mining firms spent more than P30 million for social development programs.

MGB 7 director Loreto Alburo said spending on social development programs by large-scale mining firms in 2011 increased almost 270 percent, compared to 2010.

“We have been undertaking close monitoring and supervision of these community development projects to make sure that the benefits of mining will be felt by the communities,” said Alburo.

He said this is in accordance with the directive of Environment Secretary Ramon Paje for regional offices to monitor compliance with the Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) “so that reasonable and equitable share from these mining contractors, through the implementation of livelihood programs, will be obtained.”

Mining firms are required to put up an SDMP fund, which is used in implementing projects and activities that are meant to improve the living standards of their host communities and nearby settlements.

The fund can be used in building schools, hospitals, churches, roads and bridges.

Carmen Copper Corp. in Toledo City, Cebu had the biggest budget in the region for social development programs at P18.48 million.

The Philippine Mining Service Corp./Alcoy Dolomite Mining Corp. in Alcoy comes in second with P2.21 million.

Other mining companies with SDMP funds are: Apo Cement Corp./Apo Land & Quarry Corp. with P2.34 million; JLR Construction & Aggregates Inc. with P2.68 million; and Quarry Ventures Philippines Inc. with about P920,000. These firms are all located in the City of Naga.

Taiheiyo Cement Philippines Inc./Solid Earth Development Corp. in San Fernando town put up P2.35 million for the SDMP.

In Bohol, the Philippine Mining Service Corp./ Bohol Limestone Corp. in Garcia-Hernandez town posted P922,000.

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Tuberculosis in Children

Bohol again would be showing the way for other local government units in the implementation of the tuberculosis (TB) control in kids. The accolade would be one for the record, adding to the Provincial Council Against Tuberculosis (PROCAT) feat in Bohol as the first council of such a kind at least in the region if not nationally. For council members, the development were greeted with elation, it was read as a big leap in the furtherance of keeping TB at bay and making Boholanos relatively safe from the public alarm caused by the disease. Children have been names as the most vulnerable group to TB. PROCAT chair, Dr Cesar Tomas Lopez agreed while adding he welcomes the piloting move knowing the prevalence of TB and that efforts must be made to protect these children. “This augments well with the provincial resources”, Dr. Lopez who also sits as a senior legislator at the provincial junta in Bohol said. The piloting of a province-wide program in Bohol also allows us to share with the resources of United States Agency for International Development (USAID), he said. Board member Lopez also cited the national criteria of strong political commitment, which fares Bohol well among other provinces, a fact he credits to the strong leadership of Governor Erico Aumentado and the provincial offcials. During the latest council meeting held at Jjs Dimsum Friday, the members also tackled steps to make the province-wide TB in Children program getting to the ground and running. It may be recalled that upon the issuance Of a Department of Health (DOH) guidelines in implementing TB control in children in 2004, Advanced Implementation Sites (AIS) were selected in Bohol. Identified AIS were towns of Panglao, Tagbilaran City and Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital, revealed council member Perla Cajilog. From the experiences of these pilot sites, Bohol would be adopting the pattern as a template for implementation for all towns. It would be a huge achievement, Dr. Lopez added even as he pointed out that Bohol has significantly raised its own achievements in TB with the 92% curing rate here compared to the minimum 85% national bar. By a province-wide implementation, wed get a huge network of teachers and school children working into an advocacy in early case detection and referrals, he summed

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Associate Justice Jose Sabio Back to Work After Suspension

After a two-month suspension imposed upon him by the Supreme Court (SC), Associate Justice Jose Sabio, Jr. is now back to work at the Court of Appeals (CA).

Sabio was punished with a two-month suspension without pay by the SC due to impropriety after he was implicated in the P10-million bribery attempt in connection with the controversial Manila Electric Company and state pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) case.

It can be recalled that in the SC decision, also punished with dismissal from the service was CA Associate Justice Vicente Roxas because of his violation of the Code of Ethical Standards for the members of the Judiciary.

According to Sabio, he enjoyed his two-month vacation as a result of his two-month suspension without pay with his family, adding that he was happy that he is now back in harness at work at the appellate court and he readily accepted the punishment imposed upon him by the SC.

“I accepted the verdict being a good soldier. I don’t want to sound bitter anymore,” Sabio said.

He clarified though that his conscience was clear even though he was implicated in the bribery scandal that rocked the appellate court, adding that what is past is already past and it’s a new beginning for him at the CA.

Sabio’s two-month suspension without pay took effect on September 10, 2008.

Meantime, Sabio expressed his support for the Supreme Court Appointments Watch composed of several civil society groups. – PNA

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Worldwide Celebration of Eid'l Fitr

Muslims all over the country joined today the worldwide celebration of Eid’l Fitr or the end of month-long Ramadhan. Here in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur, thousands of Muslims celebrated Eid’l Fitr by calling for the cessation of hostilities between the military forces and the lawless MILF group (LMG) in Mindanao.

Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal “Bombit” Adiong Jr. said the peace-loving Maranaos are also celebrating the end of Ramadhan with prayers for lasting peace here in Southern Philippines. Adiong said that Ramadhan is one of the 5 pillars of Islam and it is religiously observed annually by Muslims.

In connection with this celebration, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had earlier issued Proclamation No. 1625 declaring Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2008 as a regular holiday throughout the country.

The President issued the proclamation was done in order to promote cultural understanding and integration, and that the entire Filipino nation should have the full opportunity to join their Muslim brothers and sisters in the observance and celebration of Eid’l Fitr.  – Rex Dumarpa, PIA

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